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Thread: Setup, how far do you really need to go..?

  1. #1
    Forum Vendor SSR Suspension's Avatar
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    Setup, how far do you really need to go..?

    As the title suggests, how far do you really need to go..?

    I for one am guilty on a large scale of over thinking everything, it is just how my brain works, part of that is because I am an engineer I only have to strip a shock like the Showa Balance Free shock I did on Monday and instantly I am analysing it. The materials in its composition, its piston design, the shim stack composition, in my mind thinking could it be better and if so how. As a rider this is frustrating as I am sensitive to small changes, where as some people have no feeling at all and sometimes I wish I could be more numb like that.

    Now when it comes to bike setup how deep should you go, what should you worry about and what should you not worry about?

    Should you be concerned about what 'x' race team is doing, what the latest paddock rumour about how the bike setup should be?

    For the most part NO, Keep It Simple Simon...

    In order of the most important for me the following things matter;

    1- Tyres, the right compound for the conditions and the right pressure. As people find out when they switch from scrubs to new tyres it makes a huge difference and you can never truly quantify how a scrub has been looked after no matter what somebody says (i've seen first hand people told an ex BSB scrub has done 'x' yet working for that team I know differently!) but I also understand they are not cheap. But the most important thing in getting a bike good, is good tyres, a tyre that does not work can cause you major headaches.

    2- Geometry, it is true there is a window of settings that would give a good base setup and certain bikes are perhaps sub optimal from the factory, but unless you run aftermarket suspension for the most part it may be hard to achieve the numbers that could put you in a good area.

    3- Spring rates, for your weight or your pace? What is the right spring rate? Well there is perhaps an arbutary rate that would be classed as ideal for your weight which will be primarily based upon the combined mass of you the rider and your bike. Now when we take into account Topography, i.e the circuit and the weather this will often dictate a change to the rate otherwise selected. Different circuits put different stresses on the machine in different ways, 2 prime examples being Cadwell Pk and Silverstone.
    Just a note, less preload with more rate with give a plusher ride than more preload and less rate. However less rate will give more mechanical grip that more rate, so again its a compromise.

    Now if your a trackday rider, this probably does not matter you might change your setup with what you have fitted just using preload and damping. However if you race, ideally you would be looking to fine tune your setup which would mean alternate spring rates. But remember Perfect does not exist, there will always be a cmpromise somewhere.

    4- Damping, unless your running on OEM suspension or you race with aftermarket suspension you will rarely need to worry about a revalve. Damping has to primarily take into account the spring rate fitted and as a baseline 'x' spring rate would require 'x lbsf' of rebound damping with compression damping a sub factor of that force. Ideally being in the middle 1/3rd portion of adjustment gives you ample room for more or less if required.

    5- Airgaps, very few people mess with airgaps especially if you have the basics right. It also is a finicky adjustment and perhaps that may contribute to why you do not really see pro's messing with airgaps trackside.

    6-Sags, highly controversial! I really do go off rider sags for any setup that I conduct that is a road going bike as do many professional suspesion guys, it has too much of a dynamic contribution to ignore it. Even trackday guys I go off rider sags, which if you have good spring rates will be in the right area it also helps define a good dynamic baseline. However, it is not to say that that setup could not evolve-if you get faster it is very much key your setup evolves with you as a rider.

    Now for racebikes, I go off data and rider feedback. I will start with a spring rate suitable for riders weight/pace, and change based on that feedback and data and over a year we could end up with 3 or 4 spring rates and settings.


    • If you ride on the road or are a trackday rider keep it simple, do not over comlicate yourself, your there to enjoy yourself as much as anything else.
    • You are your own rider and have your own riding style (which will affect handling), your own settings will develop with time and you should embrace this.
    • Keep a notebook and record all your own settings (suspension and tyres), a pen and notepad costs peanuts.
    • Do not be afraid to change, if you do not like your change go back and try the opposite direction.
    • Remember, for every change there will be a change somewhere else and that result may cause other issues!
    • There is NO magic set of numbers, no excel spreadsheet can give you the correct settings, you have to find what works for you and that takes time.

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  3. #2
    2 YEAR PREMIER MEMBER Corkgsxr's Avatar
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    Re: Setup, how far do you really need to go..?

    I can agree when I first bought a new set I never used scrubs again

  4. #3
    2 YEAR PREMIER MEMBER r25sti's Avatar
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    Re: Setup, how far do you really need to go..?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corkgsxr View Post
    I can agree when I first bought a new set I never used scrubs again
    same here, instead of buying cheaper scrubs i now sell when mine become scrubs.

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  6. #4
    2 YEAR PREMIER MEMBER Corkgsxr's Avatar
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    Re: Setup, how far do you really need to go..?

    I gone mine to one of the lads in the garage. He's helped me alot with suspension. One day over the phone diangosed a issue as I described and I dropped a second a lap.
    But that man can wear tires to the last bit of rubber and still be faster than me. Done TT and all he has

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